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  • Ann Christensen


It helps to begin any art or writing session with an intention and a quiet focus. I use the following opening ritual in my art therapy sessions. This ritual was inspired by Judith Cornell in one of her mandala workshops. My article was published in the Winter 2020 edition of the Western IEATA Journal.

(IEATA: International Expressive Arts Therapists Association.)

1. Set up a sacred space

This might be an altar with a candle, picture of a spiritual master, such as Jesus, Buddha, a beautiful crystal or picture of a natural setting.

2. Healing intention

Write your healing intention, fold it up, and place it on your sacred space. This is not a goal, but a healing intention, such as “clarity,””play,” “devotion,” “living in the present.”

3. Prepare your materials

Everything that you need to complete your art project is gathered together. This includes your workbook, pencils, pens, stencils, paper, scissors, tape, a CD that inspires you. You don’t want to be leaping up and down during your art session. This simple step helps maintain focus.

4. Seek Higher Guidance

Visualize an enlightened master or a guide with whom you would like to be in deeper connection.

5. Light a candle

Let this light represent the higher power and soul light within you—the source of all healing and knowledge.

6. Hand over your Intentions

Visualize in your heart all of the healing intentions you have written out.

7. Bless your materials

Visualize a white light flowing from your heart to your hands to your materials. Bathe the materials with white light and focus on your intentions.

8. Visualize the “light wand”

Make your pen, pencil or paint brush a sacred instrument by visualizing your instrument as a “light wand.” This wand represents the tool you use to make visible your invisible light of spirit.

9. Direct light from your heart through your “light wand”

Visualize inner light radiating from your heart center, through the “light wand” and onto the paper.

10. Visualize the paper as the vast spaciousness of the universe within you, the silent source of your being.

11. Do a short “practice” art to help focus your concentration.

Then continue the sacred practice of bringing your inner creation to the outer world of being.


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